5 New Year's Resolutions for Homeowners

Happy New Year! TODAY is a very special day across the nation. Why?

Yesterday, January 1, 2019, people made lists of all the ways they are going to be kinder, smarter, faster, stronger, and better in everything they do.

Today, January 2, 2019 the nation will attempt to put all those resolutions into practice. It will be a good day!

But we all know what happens by January 31. Most of those resolutions will have failed. Why? Because it's so hard to form new habits! Studies have shown that the 21 day theory isn't accurate - that it actually takes 66 days to form a habit. Still, 66 days isn't that long to maintain a habit that will change your future for the better. But some things aren't habits. Some New Year's resolutions are just things you want to get done. And there's not better time for home owners (or potential homeowners!) to start, then RIGHT NOW. You can totally make these New Year's resolutions stick!

FIVE New Year's Resolutions for homeowners

1. Start an emergency fund Owning a home tends to cost more than you expect. Appliances like to break just after the warranty expires. Bugs like to destroy your sod just after it becomes established. Birds get stuck in attics, taxes increase, termites eat the door frame, washing machines leak through the ceiling... These can be a crises. Or they can be a part of life that you are already prepared to deal with. Aim to put away $1000 as quickly as possible, then add to it as much as you're able to until you have serval months salary saved up - 3 months being the minimum goal.

You could build a home from scratch on this sweet spot of land in Belvedere in Hampstead, and probably have many years before you would need to touch that emergency fund.

2. Replace your air filters every 30 days A little tip from an HVAC expert for your air filters: replace your air filters every 30 days. Don't bother with the filters that say they last longer or have the double/triple layers. Those just end up restricting air flow. The simple, single layer, cheap air filters are the best for the job. If you have bad allergies, pets, or asthma, you should consider replacing them even more frequently. This is the easiest and most important way to maintain the air quality of your home and your air conditioner.

3. Keep up with the trends Don't worry about keeping up with the Joneses. But you do need to keep up with new construction. New construction is projected to increase 4.5% over the next five years. That means that if you're going to sell your home in the future, you're competing with new builds and builders are competing heavily with each other by throwing in loads of gorgeous upgrades, including:

  • wall treatments (board-and-batten, shiplap, picture frame wainscoting)

  • trendy chandeliers

  • crown molding

  • faux ceiling beams

These are upgrades that you can make without breaking the bank, and using simple tools you likely have in your garage. Some builders include even more upgrades, like screened in porches, telescoping doors, and tiled showers, like this gorgeous home, 201 Tradewinds Dr in Hampstead.

4. Review your homeowners insurance Did you know that you usually can't change your insurance policy after a hurricane has developed offshore? Since Florence especially, I'm sure you know that there is a big difference in how insurance covers water that raises from the ground versus water that falls from the sky. Now is the time to review your policy and make sure you're covered the way you want to be. Pay attention to the exclusions, how many claims you can have without increasing your premium, etc. This waterfront home held up beautifully during the rain and storms of this season, but not every home so near the water did as well.

5. Do a safety check There's the usual stuff, like checking the batteries in your carbon monoxide alarms and fire alarms. But the first of the year is a good time to check other things too, like cleaning out your dryer vent to prevent a fire. Make sure all the lighters are out of children's reach. Review fire escape plans and secure a safe meet up place out of harms way - especially the kids. I think everyone who watches the TV hit drama, "This is Us" did a cord check after a certain tear-jerking episode. Do it again! Make sure extension cords are being used appropriately, check for exposed wires (especially in those frequently used cords like phone chargers!), and unplug the things you don't need or use.

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